Is Airtel Exiting the Kenyan Market?

Airtel Kenya seems to be in the process of exiting the Kenyan market if the current market structure in terms of market dominance is not addressed.

Airtel, which comes in second after its main competitor in the telecommunication industry, Safaricom has been fighting to sustain itself in the tough industry since its parent company, India Bharti Airtel took over from Zain in 2010.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya shows that as of June 2016, Airtel had a market share of 16.6 percent with 6.5 million subscribers on its network. This marked a decline of 200,000 customers in three months. Airtel’s subscriptions dropped from 6,722,412 in March 2016 to 6,588,825 as at the end of June 2016, as the operator relinquished 0.9 percent of its market share. Safaricom on the other hand ranked top with a 65.2 percent market share as its customers in the period grew 3.1 percent to 25.9 million.

The telecommunications firm on Friday sent home 100 of its staff, in what it termed a “strategic organizational restructuring to improve efficiency across function”, adding the redundancy to the 60 others that the telco laid off in January 2016.

Sources have disclosed that the firm has already started selling some of its assets including Airtel Money, Enterprises, customer service and sales and Distribution, which will be merged to operate as one. As if this is not enough, the company is also said to be in the process of abandoning its warehouses across the country including Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret, Mombasa and Nyeri. All it services will be offered from Nairobi. Airtel last year laid a good marketing strategy introducing Unliminet that targeted the growing data market and placed it high on the bar. It gained the firm New customers especially the youths. However, they disassembled the initial packages by slashing down it’s elements sending most of the acquired customers to drop it.